Safe and secure ammunition management is the primary responsibility of States. However, some States face challenges in managing their ammunition sustainably throughout the life cycle according to international standards and guidelines. Not responding effectively to these challenges can result in ammunition diversion to unauthorised users, fueling conflicts and armed violence, or in unplanned explosions that can affect lives and livelihoods. In response, international cooperation and assistance is essential to support requesting States in further strengthening their ammunition management processes and practices and ensuring full national ownership. Critical to its effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability is the way in which needs, resources, and expertise are brought together. The Group of Governmental Experts (GGE), convened in 2020 and 20211, recommended that the proposed political commitments be supported by an implementation mechanism at the global level to facilitate international cooperation and assistance.2
Against this backdrop, the UN General Assembly decided that the set of political commitments, to be elaborated by the open-ended working group (OEWG) in 2022 and 2023, will address existing gaps in through-life ammunition management3, including international cooperation and assistance.4 In this context, an effective international cooperation and assistance mechanism through which States can request, receive and provide assistance (e.g. normative, institutional, technical, material or financial) is expected to be a key consideration, as a means to support the implementation of the political commitments.
In light of its many facets, in-depth discussions about international cooperation and assistance among key stakeholders could inform the deliberations of the OEWG. As an informal contribution to the OEWG, it is therefore proposed to convene a series of informal dialogues to deepen specific aspects of the topic, namely the question of matching needs, resources, and expertise: How is international cooperation and assistance for through-life ammunition management currently structured, what can we learn from existing assistance mechanisms and what is missing? How could an effective assistance mechanism for the implementation of the political commitments look like?